TOWERS & TYPE Dispatches from Plateau Point

I was seventeen years old when I acquired this typewriter from the Iowa City Goodwill store. Its mustard accents, the crisp reflexes of its keys, and its sturdy traveling case were worth the five dollar price tag. Neglected in my parents’ basement, I rediscovered it a decade later, stashed it in the trunk of my car and drove it west to Grand Canyon National Park. A couple of years after that, it was packed down the Bright Angel Trail in the pannier of a mule named Cookie. In the final 48 hours of 2017 a new ribbon was installed and it was carried in a backpack from Indian Garden to the edge of the Tonto platform.

A thread stretching across seemingly flat and verdant terrain, the hike to Plateau Point is irresistable. After descending 3,000 vertical feet and emerging from the dense vegetation of Indian Garden, the landscape no longer appears two-dimensional. One is immersed in the heart of the Grand Canyon, surrounded by towers. Their names - Vishnu, Zoroaster, Angel’s Gate, Brahma, Buddha, Manu, Cheops, Isis, and Shiva. They appear as far as one can see...

During three days of unseasonably warm weather, the typewriter was placed at Plateau Point with an invitation for visitors to reflect on their experience and type a note on the analog machine. A total of 76 entries were left behind. What follows is a collection of the dispatches from Plateau Point.

Created By
Elyssa Shalla


Photos by Elyssa Shalla and Matt Jenkins.